SpaceX Successfully Launches Orbcomm Satellites

Image After two months of delays, SpaceX achieved success today in its launch of six Orbcomm telecommunications satellites into orbit on Monday, July 14. All six satellites have been successfully deployed in orbit. The six satellites, which were built by the Sierra Nevada Corporation, are part of Orbcomm’s next generation of satellites, which aim to provide faster and more robust data systems to its customers, as well as increasing the company’s overall network capacity. The six satellites are the first part of what’s envisioned to be a 17-satellite constellation, which the company aims to have in orbit by the end of the year.

This launch was originally scheduled for May 10, 2014, but had suffered a series of delays over the past few weeks, ranging from problems with the Falcon 9 rocket to problems with the satellite payload integration to simply just having problems with the weather conditions not being right for launch.

In addition to the launch, SpaceX will also be taking the opportunity to further test the reusability of the Falcon 9′s first stage. The stage will be “landing” in the ocean as the company tests its ability to slow down the descent of the rocket so it can be re-used in future launches. The last reusability test was successful, but the stormy oceans destroyed the stage and prevented recovery. Today’s calmer seas may make that recovery more likely.
In other good news for SpaceX, the company announced that last week, the Air Force certified three successful launches for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch system. This is an important step for the company in getting certified to participate in the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. SpaceX says it believes it will be certified by the end of the year.

In April of this year, SpaceX filed a court challenge to the Air Force’s awarding of an EELV block buy contract to the United Launch Alliance on the grounds that it should have been competitive. Earlier this month, both the Air Force and ULA moved the Court to dismiss the suit on several grounds, including the fact that SpaceX is not certified to carry those payloads yet and weren’t at the time of the contract award.

SpaceX’s next launches are scheduled for July and August. Later this month, the company will be delivering an Asiasat satellite into orbit. In August, a Falcon 9 rocket will carry an unmanned Dragon spacecraft loaded with supplies to the International Space Station as part of the company’s contract with NASA. (Alex Knapp, Fortune -
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07